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Table of contents
- Best TV streaming boxes
- Sky Q: From £20 a month, Sky
- The Best Media Streaming Devices for | lyzufefuwuza.tk
- Media Streaming Devices & Android TV Boxes
- Android TV devices, Xbox Ones, obscure PCs and even a Raspberry Pi
Best TV streaming boxes
When 4K content became available to buy or rent, Apple not only set the prices the same as HD but upgraded any purchases already made in HD to the higher-resolution format. Subscriptions to Amazon Prime and Netflix bring extensive libraries, and of course catch-up services are available.
Beyond that, the range of TV and film to buy or rent is comprehensive. Instead of subscribing to a set of programmes for a year or more as you do with the Sky box above, you simply choose a pass. Simple to use and amazingly flexible. Roku has hundreds of streaming channels from mainstream offerings like ITV Hub to dedicated horror or sci-fi stations.
The remote has a dedicated Netflix button, which is handy. Its interface is straightforward and it works well. So, in other words, you have to turn the TV on or off, and volume up or down on the TV remote, not the Amazon one. Ideal for a second TV, for instance. Otherwise, the Stick without 4K works in exactly the same way and looks pretty similar, too.
The remote still works because it uses Bluetooth, not infra-red, so no line of sight is needed. Instead, you use the appropriate Google-branded app on your smartphone. It has a built-in ethernet adapter which aids with the simplicity of connection. Unlike other boxes here, the interface lacks a central hub of apps — the Chromecast is all about streaming content from your phone, tablet or computer rather than finding the channels you can browse.
Instead, you must rely on the Google Home app to find content. Then you use apps which feature a distinctive Cast button, touch the button and your chosen content appears on the TV. The Netflix app works with Chromecast, while Amazon Video does not. Like the cheaper Amazon Stick, this is a more affordable box from Apple, one which lacks 4K and HDR display capabilities of the pricier unit, and so is ideal for those rooms with HD-capable TVs instead.
The box itself is a cute, well-crafted square with rounded corners and the remote, identical to the 4K one, is simple to use though sometimes swiping the touch-sensitive area can feel inexact. The range here is distinctly different.
Sky Q: From £20 a month, Sky
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The Best Media Streaming Devices for | lyzufefuwuza.tk
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Amazon has equipped its Fire TV platform with Alexa, the same voice assistant used in the company's Echo speakers. It's a useful tool to use with the voice remote included with the current Fire TV Sticks. If you want hands-free Alexa with your Fire TV, the newer Fire TV Cube features a far-field microphone array that can pick up your commands just like an Echo, without needing to use the remote.
If you still want to watch broadcast television even after you cut the cord, and enjoy a local DVR instead of relying on a streaming live TV service, Amazon's Fire TV Recast has you covered. It isn't a replacement for a Fire TV; it has no on-screen interface or remote on its own. You connect it to your home network and access it through a Fire TV to manage recordings and watch live cable.
Google Cast is the least visually obtrusive and physically complicated media streaming platform; you take a Chromecast, plug it into a power source, plug it into your TV or sound system, and control everything through your mobile device. There are no remotes, no on-screen interfaces, and no app stores to separately navigate. You just connect your Chromecast to your home network and stream whatever you're watching from a Google Cast-compatible app, of which there are many on your smartphone or tablet. It's easy to use and economical. And Chromecast devices connect with Google Assistant in Google Home speakers, so you can issue voice commands for what you want to watch, and even see supplemental information related to voice searches such as your Google Calendar.
Roku calls the services and apps available on its devices Channels, and currently offers thousands of choices in the Roku Channel Store.
Media Streaming Devices & Android TV Boxes
All of the big streaming media names are available, including Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Sling TV, and Twitch, along with many smaller, niche apps and services for movies, sports, weather, news, and international content. Roku's current lineup is its largest, with a total of six models across a wide range of prices and features. Roku has also pushed into the television market with its Roku TV platform. The company doesn't make TVs itself, but it offers its technology to manufacturers to incorporate into their screens.
This has allowed many more budget-priced televisions to include connected features they couldn't use a few years ago, while keeping prices low. Now the majority of Roku TVs natively support 4K as well. Android TV devices are also all Google Cast compatible, so you can use your smartphone or tablet to stream content to it just as if you had a Chromecast. Google hasn't made a first-party Android TV media streamer yet, instead focusing on Chromecast devices and leaving Android TV to other companies. The app selection is still a bit light compared with Roku, and tends to eschew certain on-demand and subscription services that compete with Apple like Spotify, against Apple Music , but other than that the Apple TV is feature-rich and very capable.
If you simply want to access iTunes content on your TV and already have an iPhone or iPad, your TV might soon be able to do just that without a media streamer. Samsung is also getting its own dedicated iTunes app, on top of that. Any of the devices here are a great choice for bringing online content to your TV. For even more options, check out our m edia streamer product guide. Hands-free voice control with Alexa. Lots of connected apps and services. Far-field microphone array can understand your voice over TV audio.
Voice control works for home theater as well as smart home devices. Does not support Google Play content. No Dolby Vision capability. Alexa can occasionally get confused by syntax.
Android TV devices, Xbox Ones, obscure PCs and even a Raspberry Pi
Amazon Alexa. Quick Wi-Fi streaming and menu navigation. No Google Play apps. Ethernet adapter not included. Comes with improved voice remote that can control your TV. Voice search and Amazon Alexa are very useful. Fast performance. Missing some notable streaming services. Quick performance. Voice remote doesn't need line of sight and can control your TV.
Supports HDR Voice features are limited to search, with no voice assistant functionality. Strong Wi-Fi performance. Siri with voice remote. Apple's streaming apps selection is still relatively small.
Some apps not yet updated for 4K streaming. Ethernet port for reliable 4K streaming. Relatively inexpensive for a 4K media streamer. Requires a smartphone, tablet, or PC. Almost twice the price of the p Chromecast. Streaming game options work very well. Hands-free Google Assistant support.
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Relatively expensive. Streaming games requires a very fast and reliable network connection.